A Tesla Model Y in North Vancouver, British Columbia caught fire over the weekend, allegedly forcing the driver to kick out a window in order to escape.
The vehicle, shown in the video below, was relatively new. That’s according to the unnamed man driving the car. But the driver didn’t specify whether it had been showing previous signs of any malfunctions. While driving the vehicle, the driver noticed a new error notification surface before it started to smoke.
The doors and windows, conversely, stopped working as the vehicle powered down. And that, according to the driver, forced him to kick out the window on the driver’s side of the Model Y. Then it caught fire.
What went wrong and how much fault is on Tesla for the Model Y catching fire?
Now, Tesla vehicles are not the only cars to catch fire. Although manufacturers do sell their EVs with warnings not to leave them parked in the garage, for example, because of potential fire hazards.
Cars with combustion engines don’t always run as intended, either. For instance, according to figures compiled by the National Fire Protection Association, 212,500 vehicles caught fire in 2018. Most of those, around two-thirds, were older vehicles. Made well before EVs became mainstream. Collisions were the leading cause of those fires.
The exact reasons for the car catching fire have not, so far, been reported. The exact nature of the error code thrown by the vehicle hasn’t either and there doesn’t appear to have been any collision. So it isn’t apparent whether or not the battery or some other component is at fault. Although most vehicle fires are caused by electrical systems so the high-tech design of Teslas may ultimately be to blame.
It also isn’t immediately clear whether or not the manual release inside of the Tesla malfunctioned, as the unidentified man did not specify. Or if it was simply difficult to find in light of smoke filling the car.
Tesla places its manual door release in the Model Y and other vehicles to ensure that when there is no power, as happened with this fire, the door can still be opened — without having to break a window. Specifically, that’s a pressable button at the top of the interior door handle. When pressed, the door is released and a simple push should cause it to open.
Regardless, news of the incident will undoubtedly not do any favors for Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO has faced several large scandals over recent weeks. Both in his bid to buy social media company Twitter and in matters that are more personal in nature.